Letting Go of Gluttony

I’ve gained weight.

In a previous post on Intuitive Eating I recommended the book “How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too,” by Josie Spinardi. A book I still find very good! At the time of the post I was 151 pounds, now I am back up to the 157-160 pound range I was stuck in before…sigh. This may sound like Intuitive Eating doesn’t work BUT, as with all things, you still have to “follow through” for changes to occur.

So – in order to better honor my waistline – I have decided to cut back on the holiday celebrations. Some days baking is the only option to celebrate with my boys and making three goodies in a row isn’t very effective in the “I’m trying to shed a few pounds and keep them off” world. Autumn3 I do LOVE sweets and don’t intend to cut them out of my diet but just because I “can” eat a dessert everyday (in moderation) doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strengthen my Intuitive Eating muscles before leaving a full plate of cookies on my counter alongside gooey toffee bars alongside Ding Dong Bundt Cake…

So I am going to stick with celebrations not involving food, or at least avoid so many sweet ones at this point!

And honestly I have been discouraged. I want to say, “I am content to stay this weight forever! I am happy with me and accept myself as I am!” I absolutely need to accept myself but the reality is – if I don’t figure this eating stuff out now, even if I only gain 5 pounds a year, in 12 years I could have gained 60 pounds – putting me at 220 when I’m 40!

Between having kids (which already leaves me way less active) and metabolism slowing down with age – I don’t know if my eating will maintain this current weight or if gradually the pounds will start sneaking on. Autumn Lucky for me my library always has great books on display, and I came across the book “It Was Me All Along: A Memoir” by Andie Mitchell. Andie’s story is her weight gain/ weight loss journey. She lost over 100 pounds without cutting anything from her diet – just eating in moderation and being more active.

I won’t say it’s a “happy happy” book because there is definitely some sadness – like her breaking up with the man she calls her best friend because she doesn’t have romantic feelings for him anymore – which I found disappointing!

Either way she had some wonderful insights and encouraged me in my fight for a healthier life!

My favorite line of the book was, “Another plate wouldn’t have brought me any greater satisfaction, because contentment doesn’t double by the serving.”  

This really hit a nerve – the contentment of “one” cupcake doesn’t double if I have TWO!? I realized how much a second or third serving, in so many foods, actually brings discontent because I’m left with so much regret and guilt!   Autumn2 I absolutely want to learn to be content with who I am, right here, right now (which is a process in itself) because even though it seems like it, weight loss isn’t going to make me happier. I do want to make changes though, so I can be healthier as well as setting a good example for my children!

I want to come to the place where eating a dessert (or any food for that matter) can be described as Andie does in her book, “…it was delightful. I’d made it special; I’d enjoyed it, and because of that – the eating lacked regret.”

Finding Joy

Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever had, more than working midnight shows at the movie theater, getting home between 2am and 5am – then having to be in my graphic design class by 7am.

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It can be absolutely exhausting, frustrating, irritating, boring, monotonous and everything I do my three-year old mimics! I said stupid one time in front of him and for two weeks everything was stupid… including daddy… sigh.

I spend so much time trying to discover the secret equation to becoming a “good mom”… balancing cleaning to-do lists, blog posts, banner designing and assembling, grocery shopping as well as visits to the park, the library, figuring out when I’m going to find time to teach reading lessons and switch us all over to clean eating while celebrating a holiday every day!

Most days nothing goes as planned. Yesterday I was so mad at my son I burst into tears. I did everything right too – I stayed off the computer, took the boys to the park, played with them, was patient… but all that left me with was a boy who would not listen and loves to antagonize his little brother.

My day ended with the dread of another one to come plus the guilt… oh the guilt!

I hate the feeling of guilt… knowing I lost my patience AGAIN… but unsure of how to handle the situation I lost it on. Losing sight of every difficult moment I experienced in a day – my stinker son, once gone to bed, suddenly seems likes an angel and I a beast. The huge weight of “I’m a bad mom” thoughts swirl through my head late into the night and all I see are my faults.

My natural reaction is to be overwhelmed and discontent as I walk through the daily battles of motherhood, it’s so easy to respond this way.

As much as I LOVE being a mom, it’s HARD to find joy in a screaming toddler and a teething baby – but I want to!

One of my biggest fears is to be another mother reflecting back on these young years – wishing she would have cherished this time more and been able to see the blessings in it all.

“Instead of mourning the passage of time, I want to live with a sense of abundance in the here and now, knowing that what we have is exactly enough.” Katrina Kenison, The Gift of An Ordinary Day

What I’m learning is joy and thankfulness are a choice. Gratitude for this life and joy for the simple things are like muscles, needing to be worked to grow stronger.

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I want to be a better mother as well as a more positive person. So a first step I’ve taken is to fill a journal with encouraging quotes, Bible verses and writing down lists of things I’m thankful for. It’s a good place to return to and read through when I’m discouraged.

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No day will be perfect but we can always start practicing, building our joy and gratitude muscles, trying to see the beauty in our homes until we see the beauty without trying. Especially the beauty in our learning, growing children and all their quirks!

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Here are some books I recommend:

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

The Gift of An Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir by Katrina Kenison

The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer by Father Jonathan Morris

God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett

“The Way of Serenity”

I’m reading through a stack of non-fiction/ self-help books I picked up at the library.

The first book I read was “The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer” by Father Jonathan Morris.

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Father Morris breaks down the Serenity prayer… I’m sure you know it:

“Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have always known the Serenity Prayer but after reading the book I’ve come to realize what a simple but perfect daily prayer it is.

There are days filled with challenges we cannot change, caused by other people, our circumstances, weather, etc. To avoid succumbing to it all and suffering through another “bad” day we must accept them, and find the courage to change the things we can…even if it’s our own mindset and how we handle the situation.

Last week I woke up so crabby – even though Jeffrey was in a cheerful mood I felt annoyed with everything he did – both boys were up before 6am and I was tired!

I am doing my Orange Rhino Challenge – to Yell Less and Love More – and being irritable does not help in this “no yell” zone.

I knew the only way I could “survive” the day – especially with no yelling – was to change my mindset. This is when I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer… but in my own words…

“Lord, I cannot change the fact that my boys are up so early, ready to start the day, whether I want to be or not. Help me to make the changes I need to – to get through this day patiently. And give me the wisdom and insight to know when Jeff is being a happy, energy-filled 2-year-old and when he is being a naughty one so I have no regrets dealing with each situation.”

It actually worked. I focused on getting some stuff done to wake me up – while my boys played – and gradually I had some new energy. It ended up being a really fun day… if you read my April Fool’s Day post you will see what I mean!

I like to share the books that really mean something to me. Some books are filled with words of wisdom and it’s hard to apply everything to our lives but as Father Morris says in his book,

“Are you getting wiser as you read? Even if you don’t feel it, my bet is that you are. That’s the way God seems to impart wisdom. He feeds us truth in bite sizes, and even as we are processing it some of it sticks to our spiritual bones and becomes part of who we are. Without realizing it, we begin to think and judge differently. We start to give greater value to important things. We become more patient and trusting in God’s power and will to intervene when we can’t. We become less concerned about what others think of us and more attentive to how God sees us.”

These are the types of things I want to fill myself with. I want to live a simpler life with less of the pointless books I read and the TV shows I watch. I want to fill myself with words to inspire me and to help me grow in Godly wisdom.

I hope you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I do. If you have any good recommendations please share!